Now that we’re halfway through the school year, I’m giving reviews of the individual curriculum we have been using this year. Today, I’ll review Curiosity Chronicles History curriculum.
I initially found Curiosity Chronicles in the spring of 2020 when public schools abruptly closed and I was looking for some enrichment activities to give my then 5th grade son. I ordered the Snapshots in Ancient History curriculum. This curriculum is print-on-demand and always takes 4-6 weeks to arrive, so make sure you order things early. Do to extra demand and offices being closed at the start of the pandemic, it took over two months before my initial order arrived. I therefore held off and instead had my son use this curriculum for sixth grade.
Curiosity Chronicles is a secular world history program designed for elementary school students. It could easily be started with a first or second grader and then used all the way up to fifth or sixth grade. When using it with older students, the curriculum feels a bit lite. The chapters only take 10-15 minutes to read (there is also an audiobook option). They are written as a conversation between two historians, so it’s very easy to read out loud with your student each of you reading one of the character’s roles. Along with the textbook, there is also a student workbook that includes coloring sheets for younger students, and a couple pages of questions related to the chapters reading. My son is able to complete this work in less than five minutes. So an entire chapter can be completed in 20 minutes or less (at least by an older student).
The teachers guild includes multiple hands on projects to further learning associated with each chapter. We did a few of these projects at the beginning of the year, but most took more time to set up than they actually took to complete. They might be great for younger students, but my son really wasn’t getting much out of them. The one exception to that is Minecraft.
My sixth grader LOVES Minecraft! I don’t even want to admit how many hours this child spends playing Minecraft every day. One of the hands on projects associated with each chapter is a Minecraft build. The student builds irrigation systems, pyramids, Polynesian sail boats, Chinese temples, ect, in their ongoing Minecraft History world as they learn about new cultural advancements throughout time. My Minecraft loving son really enjoys these activities.
We have settled into a workable schedule where he reads a chapter and completes the workbook activities two days per week. He then spends one day per week completing the Minecraft builds for those two chapters. The other two days of the week, he does other activities from other sources. Using this schedule, he’s on track to finish not only Snapshots in Ancient History, but also Snapshots in Medieval History this year.
Even though this curriculum is appropriate for younger students, my sixth grader is learning a lot of history. He has even requested that we stick with the series for seventh and eighth grade. The complete curriculum is six book, so doing two books per year, the entire program could be completed in three years. He’s gaining a solid foundation of history knowledge that he’ll be able to further build upon in High School.
If you are looking for an engaging secular history curriculum that truly covers world history (not just Western Civilizations) Curiosity Chronicles is a grate choice. It’s perfect for students from about third to fifth grade, but can definitely be adapted for students anywhere from kindergarten to eighth grade.